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Close call
Nobody hurt as tree destroys CPD vehicles

COVINGTON - The Covington Police Department was wrapped in crime scene tape Tuesday afternoon after a mighty oak was apparently tired of standing upright.

The huge tree fell across the front driveway of CPD headquarters on Conyers Street about 3 p.m., crushing two automobiles and damaging two trucks.

According to CPD spokesman Lt. Wendell Wagstaff no one was aware that there was a potential problem with the oak tree estimated to be 70 or 80 years old.

"It appears to have been rotting from within," he said.

Wagstaff said it sounded like a bomb had gone off when the tree hit, shaking the entire building.

No one was hurt, but it was only by the grace of God. Wagstaff said a kindness was repaid to Lt. Mike Tinsley, who heroically saved the life of a 3-year-old boy during last year's Christmas parade. The officer was working crowd control at the event when the toddler ran under a truck. Tinsley risked his own life to grab the boy, snatching him away just before the truck's wheel would have crushed him.

Wagstaff said Tuesday that Tinsley was on his way out the door to get into one of the cars that was flattened when a colleague called to him. He stopped to talk for a bit. While he was standing in the hallway with his keys in his hand, the tree fell.

"He would surely have been killed if that hadn't happened," Wagstaff said. "An act of kindness was repaid."

The job of clearing the debris was ongoing late Tuesday.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.